Ratfink

(2010)
Ratfink

Life as a 5th grader is tough enough for Logan, due in part to his own tendency to dream up stories as excuses for sometimes acting irresponsibly -- and the trouble that brings. But now, Logan’s grandfather has come to stay with the family, and his forgetfulness and strange behavior is not only embarrassing, it has gotten Logan in even more trouble. To make matter worse, not only has Logan had to give up his bedroom to Grandpa, he’s had to postpone his dream of getting a dog as well. He tries to keep his grandfather a secret, even to his best friend, Malik, who, meanwhile, has a secret of his own. When Logan tangles with Emily, a new girl in school, Emily is bound and determined to get revenge on Logan, and to discover what’s inside Malik’s backpack. What’s worse is that Logan’s parents and teacher are blaming Logan for the mishaps that occur whenever Emily or Grandpa is around. When Emily finds out something that may make Logan the fool of the school, she threatens to tell everyone unless Logan helps her find out Malik’s secret. Logan is torn between the prospect of being laughed at by his classmates and of ratting out his best friend. He can’t help but wonder: is he really the “Ratfink” that Emily says he is? As Logan struggles with his dilemma, Grandfather, in his lucid moments, proves to be a clever and creative confidant; as Grandpa struggles with his memory loss, Logan comes to his aid, and the two form a bond. Both Logan’s and his grandpa’s troubles go from bad to worse so often that it it almost seems too much; but luckily the story is balanced by lighter moments, well-rounded characters and a few plot twists for the better. The author treats the subject of old age and dementia of a family member with sensitivity, humor, and understanding. 

 Grade school kids will identify with Logan's problems, especially 5th Graders, or those children whose families are dealing with the decline of an elderly loved one.

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